A recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has shown that in the last year, more drivers are participating in dangerous driving activities, such as speeding, running red lights, and driving under the influence of alcohol. Data from the study shows that 24% more drivers drove while under the influence of alcohol from 2020 to 2021, 13% more drivers drove after an hour of consuming cannabis, 10% more drivers drove through a red light, and 12% more drivers drove 15 miles-per-hour over the speed limit when on the highway.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities have risen since the beginning of the COVD-19 pandemic. The NHTSA estimated that 42,915 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2021, an increase of 10.5% from 2020.
Here in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reported 1,334 traffic fatalities in 2021, an increase from 1,196 in 2020 and 1,010 in 2019. Of the fatalities in 2021, 214 occurred as a result of a pedestrian being stuck by a vehicle, 167 occurred as a result of a motorcycle accident, and 128 occurred as a result of a semi-truck collision. 545 fatalities occurred on city streets, while 368 fatalities occurred on state/U.S. routes, and 204 occurred on interstates.
To date in 2022, there have been 1,160 fatalities and 1,049 fatal crashes in Illinois. Of those, there have been 39 fatalities in Kane County, 36 fatalities in DuPage County, and 366 fatalities in Cook County. Similar to 2021, most of these fatalities have been as a result of pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, and semi-truck accidents.
In order to prevent serious car accidents, AAA recommends the following safety tips to protect yourself and others on the road:
- Out of sight, out of mind. Stow your smartphone away, turn it to airplane mode, or activate call/text blocking features like Apple’s Do Not Disturb.
- Slow down. Drivers tend to overestimate the time saved by speeding. Speed kills and isn’t worth the cost.
- Stay alert. Stop driving if you become sleepy because you can fall asleep anytime. Fatigue impacts reaction time, judgment, and vision.
- Drive sober. If you consume marijuana or alcohol, then don’t drive. If you are taking potentially impairing prescription medications, discuss with your doctor or pharmacist how best to stay safe AND healthy behind the wheel.
- Buckle your seat belt for every ride. It does not matter where in the vehicle you are seated. A properly worn seatbelt is the most effective way to survive a traffic crash.
Being involved in a car accident can be dangerous and scary. Injuries and the costs of treating those injuries can easily add up. If you or a loved one has been injured by a driver engaging in dangerous driving practices, contact car accident attorney John Malm at John J. Malm & Associates to learn more about how you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries.
About the Author: Rachel Legorreta is an associate with the law firm of John J. Malm & Associates, where she focuses her practice on personal injury litigation. She graduated magna cum laude from Northern Illinois University College of Law and is the current Assistant Editor of the DCBA Brief.